Russia’s ring of friends and fire

Throughout history Russia’s lack of natural barriers have obliged it to seek out “strategic depth.” This has meant that it needs to have friendly nations on its borders. Better still would be to have client states that carry out Moscow’s bidding. When that can’t be achieved, and Russia feels that there is a hostile entity on its border, then a curtain of fire can always be created to keep enemies skittish of scorched earth at bay.